Florida Is the Seventh Worst State for Tax Help
Ken Teegardin via Flickr CC
Tax Day is a mere two weeks away, and there's a good chance you haven't done yours yet. Sure, Florida remains one of the tax-friendliest states, but actually doing taxes remains a tedious pain in the neck. You'd probably rather spend a few extra bucks to have an accountant do your taxes. And that's probably a good idea, because you can get yourself into a real pickle if you don't know what you're doing.
But, according to WalletHub, that might be a challenge here in Florida. Because a new study by the financial website says the Sunshine State is among the worst in the country to get good tax help. In fact, acceding to the rankings, Florida is 45th (tied with Indiana), making it the seventh worst state for tax help.
"There’s no shame in admitting it — many of us would rather pay someone to do our taxes than spend the 16 hours the IRS estimates it takes to do them ourselves," says WalletHub's Communications Manager, Raz Daraban. "But the accessibility, affordability and effectiveness of tax help varies significantly."
The Best & Worst States for Tax Help study looked at six key metrics culled from information provided by the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, Indeed.com, and the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. The site then compared the 50 states and District of Columbia with stats like the number of accountants per 1,000 people to their average workload and hourly compensation.
According to the study, Florida ranked low in just about every key metric, with least-affordable tax help being the state's biggest issue.
22nd – Accountants Per 1,000 People
33rd – Accounting Jobs Per 1,000 People
48th – Affordability of Tax Help
27th – Returns Filed Per Accountant
27th – Percentage of Filers Paying for Tax Help
Of course, you can always skip filing your taxes with a pro, and hit up the internet to e-file. But there are some risks with that, the most common risk being identity theft. Common sense stuff can protect you when you e-file, such as not using a public Wi-Fi, and using a secure encryption when you use Wi-Fi. There is also the risk of making a mistake because you're not trained to do this kind of thing (although most tax websites walk you through it).
"E-filing is generally safe," says Reed W. Easton, Associate Professor of Taxation and Accounting, Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University. "There is problem involving identity theft refund fraud. A weakness in the current tax refund system is the 'look-back' compliance model used by the IRS. The IRS currently cannot do a matching of employers' wage data from W-2s, as such data is not available until months after the IRS issues most refunds."
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